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PostFalangist Attack on British Embassy, 1941 (Paul Preston, UK, 12/01/11 11:44 am)
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's reference to "some angry and frustrated students" (1 December) reminded me of an incident in Madrid in the summer of 1941.
In the wake of the German invasion of Russia, the British Embassy was stormed by Falangist students on 24 June, after the foreign minister and head of the Falange, Franco's brother-in-law, Ramón Serrano Suñer, had harangued them at the Falange headquarters in the Calle Alcalá. In the wake of his announcement that "Russia is to blame for the Spanish Civil War" and "History and the future of Spain require the extermination of Russia," the crowd moved on to the British Embassy, where a truck-load of stones had been thoughtfully provided by the authorities.
Efforts to break into the Embassy were fought off by the British guards backed by sixteen escaped British POWs. A German film crew was conveniently on hand to record the entire proceedings. It is alleged that when the Embassy received a call from Serrano Suñer's office asking if the ambassador, Sir Samuel Hoare, would like them to send more police, he replied "No, thank you, just send fewer students."
JE comments: A classic anecdote. When students the world 'round become angry and frustrated, beware. In most parts of the US, however, students are more likely to get sleepy.